(Chris Connor/Wenn.com)

Sad news.

Actor James Avery, who guest-starred as a Genoa City judge who ruled on Phyllis' (Michelle Stafford) case on "The Young and the Restless" back in October 2012, has died at the age of 68. TMZ reported that "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air" actor passed away in a Los Angeles hospital the night of December 31 when his health declined following open heart surgery. His wife Barbara was at the hospital with him.

Avery was best known for his role of Uncle Phil in the popular sitcom in which he co-starred with Will Smith ("Men In Black," "Hancock"), however he made dozens of TV appearances and had notable roles in such series as "The Closer," "All Of Us," "Soul Food," "L.A. Law," and "Amen."

Soaps.com extends condolences to James Avery's loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

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- Candace Young